Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday.
The details surrounding it put it ahead of all other holidays – the season, the gratefulness, the tradition, the slight sense of history, and the food the food the food. I love the food. I love the turkey, the side dishes, and especially the amount of vegetable options. I also love pie.
When I think about Thanksgiving, I’m happy, warm and relaxed. I think about home and sweatpants and football and whisking the gravy. I remember sitting together at the table. I remember naps and an early dinner and then a later dinner of leftovers. I think about my father and grandfather snoring on the couch and the candles on the dining room table.
It’s funny that that’s what always comes to mind when I think about Thanksgiving, because in reality I’ve had more Thanksgivings that have required travel or dressing up or family drama or being responsible for a whole lot more than whisking the gravy. I have to fight to remember anything but the warm football sweatpants snoring Papa Joe Thanksgivings when I think of Thanksgiving, but when I do can remember at least two Thanksgivings when I didn’t even make myself a plate because of babies and kids and being the server/cook/cleaner upper, not to mention all of other things that have been different.
And maybe that’s part of why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Because no matter what happens or where I am, or what I eat, or who is around me, all I can I remember my favorite parts: my favorite season, gratefulness, tradition, slight sense of history and the food the food the food.
I was thinking about that today. I was happy and grateful for the people around me and for all of the things that I have and have to do and for all of the things that I don’t have and don’t have to do. And I was wondering if my kids will remember holidays and special days in the same way when they grow up. I wonder if they will remember as a snapshot as I do, one thing that stands out, one tradition, or if it will be every year added up like looking through an album. And I was thinking that whichever way they remember it, I want these days to be special and relaxed.
I can’t eliminate family dramas and people’s stress over menu contribution coordination, botched recipes, travel arrangements, or ever changing guest lists, but I can make sure these things are not the most memorable things in my kids’ day. I can keep their days relaxed. I can give them responsibilities to own and feel important about (like setting the table, tossing a salad, being the dessert server, or whisking the gravy). I can let them relax and watch football with the snoring men, or nap and by gosh they better get a ton of time to play with their cousins. I can let them dress up as fancy as they want, or wear pajamas and slippers, however they feel best. I can guide them to understand and appreciate how lucky they are.
I’m grateful that I am healthy, alive and available to make these memories with them. I do not have to be stressed over the things that circle Thanksgiving and make it up. I’m grateful we can serve and contribute meals so large and plentiful there are almost as many dessert options as people eating. I’m grateful for drawers full of clothes choices. I’m thankful I lived my whole life with multiple options of warm houses full of food and family to go to near and far. I’m thankful Papa Joe taught me how to make applesauce from scratch and set a good example for what to look for in a couch snoring man. I’m grateful for my babies who keep me busy, and when I fight to remember, I know I have never minded missing a meal (or anything, except occasionally sleep) to spend time with them.
I wish you all a fantastic Thanksgiving in whatever way you are destined to celebrate and share gratitude this year. I hope that all of the memorable parts of the day will be only the good stuff.